type & typography

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Dashboard Widget for Designers

June 7, 2005 - 2:00am ||| 1 Comment | Add new

Mac OS X users who've made the plunge to Tiger (10.4.X) are exploring the world of "widgets," useful little programs, that run from Tiger's new Dashboard feature:
http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/dashboard/

A starter set of widgets are included with the Tiger install. They're general purpose ones like a mini-iTunes controller, a unit converter, and a translator. Cutting edge, eh?

Of course, Apple has an agenda. The point of Dashboard widgets is to create an open-source-like hook into OS X. That way the legions of design geeks out there who know a thing or two about XML, CSS and JavaScript (how widgets are written) can develop widgets on their own and release them for the benefit of all Apple-kind. Apple says, "If you know how to create a web page, then you know how to create a capable Widget." more >

Wrangling Fonts on Windows

June 7, 2005 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

On April 29, 2005, Adobe quietly stopped selling their font management utility, ATM Deluxe. It went out with a whimper in a TechNote:
http://www.adobe.com/support/salesdocs/1008749.html

Actually, Adobe had already announced back in 2002 that they'd stopped development of ATM Deluxe. The TechNote is the final notice that not only can't you buy it anymore, but you won't be able to get person-to-person tech support for ATM Deluxe issues after December 31, 2005.

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DIY Open Type Conversions

June 7, 2005 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Okay, so far this issue I've written one story about fonts on Macs, and one about fonts on Windows. Let's close the circle and talk about making the twain meet: Converting your fonts so they work on both platforms in your mixed-platform workplace.

You probably already know that the answer is Open Type, right? It's the only cross-platform font format that is immune to slight kerning and tracking differences when used in the same document but different platforms. If you're not clear on exactly what Open Type is about, learn all about it on my Open Type Resources page:
http://www.senecadesign.com/designgeek/opentype.html

Yes, you can upgrade to the Open Type versions of the True Type and Type 1 fonts you already own — assuming they're available — and benefit from the additional glyphs (characters) that are often included with them. You'll have to purchase an upgrade for each typeface family.more >

Find/Change in InDesign Style Sheets

February 22, 2005 - 3:00am ||| 1 Comment | Add new

InDesign's Find Font and/or Find/Change (set to Search: Document) commands are the fastest way to change text formatting throughout a document. Both automatically search and replace in Master pages as well as document pages, and both can find text formatted with a missing font and change its typeface to one available.

Tiplet: Bet you didn't know that Find/Change's Find Format Settings, revealed by clicking More Options in Edit -> Find/Change, could find missing fonts, did you? If missing fonts are called for in the document, their names appear in brackets at the very end of the dropdown menu of typefaces in the Basic Character Formats panel. If you don't see yours, try choosing any font from this menu, click in another field, then go back to the dropdown menu and look at the bottom ones again. It's like a mini-Refresh … your missing fonts should now appear.

Find Font and Find/Change Format are also great for changing all usage of a Type 1 or TrueType typeface to an Open Type version. A lot of clients moving to InDesign/InCopy workflows are doing this to their publication templates to make cross-platform work easier. (The same Open Type font can be used as is on both Mac OS X and Windows 2000/XP.) And many other places are moving to Open Type to take advantage of OT-only features:
http://www.senecadesign.com/designgeek/opentype.html more >

First Occasional DesignGeek Bookmarks Issue

November 23, 2004 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Every day in my normal workflow, as I come across interesting web sites that may be worthy of a DesignGeek story, I add them to an ever-growing list of URLs I maintain just for this purpose. I've been collecting these URLS over a year now — the dropdown menu for them goes way beyond the bottom of my screen — and really only about 10% of them ever make it into an article.

So much content, so little time.

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DeGeekify Yourself with Letterpress

August 31, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Every once in a while it's good to step AWAY from the computer ma'am and remind yourself of the beauty of type and tradition.

One example that made me want to unplug my computer for good and start scouting flea markets for old printing equipment is this movie:
http://elsa.photo.net/video/firefly-small.mov more >

Updated Apple Docs for Designers on OS X

August 19, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Bumming around the Apple site the other day, I noticed that there's two recently-revised "Technology Tour" papers (aka "Manuals We Should Have Included") of interest to designers working in OS X:

Color Management with OS X Panther (June 2004)
http://images.apple.com/pro/pdf/Color_Management_in_Mac_OS_X.pdf

Advanced Typography with Mac OS X: Using and Managing Fonts (July 2004)
http://images.apple.com/pro/pdf/L303878A_Font_TT_v3.pdf more >

Pixel Fonts for the Web and Flash

July 26, 2004 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

I have a compulsive fascination with pixel fonts. I keep buying them, amassing a collection, even though I don't get a chance to use them that often. I'm always amazed at how creative people can be when they have just a few pixels to work with to design a typeface.

Not sure what a pixel font is? I'm sure you've seen them already on modern-looking web sites … they're often used for navigation as text labels, and most of the time appear in all caps.

Look at the navigation labels at this web design firm's site to see what I mean:
http://www.grafik.com/more >

Excel Tables in Quark 6.1

March 24, 2004 - 3:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

So I installed the QuarkXPress 6.1 update recently…
http://www.quark.com/products/xpress/61update.html#download

…and then spent a few fruitless minutes in the "Get" dialog trying to import an Excel file as a table, one of the new features of this update.

I found the wily wascal hiding in the Table Properties dialog. Here's how to do it, along with some tips on how to work with Excel tables after you've got them in there:

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Guide to Adobe CS's Free Fonts

March 24, 2004 - 3:00am ||| 2 Comments | Add new

While the press releases and hoopla have died out to a great extent, many companies are just now getting around to updating to the Adobe Creative Suite.

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